Closing Ceremony of WSIS Summit in Tunis, 2005
My friends at the Association for Progressive Communications have published a new book on the lessons learned from the UN World Summit on the Information Society, particularly for developing countries and civil society organizations/NGOs. Entitled, Whose Summit, Whose Information Society, the book is available as a free PDF from APC. From what I have read so far, the author David Souter does an amazing job synthesizing a wide range of views and perspectives gathered from what must have been hundreds of hours of conversations and email correspondence with developing country and NGO delegations to the WSIS.
Having spent 2002-2005 working quite intensely on WSIS issues, I have to say his overall assessment is sobering. David concludes that, while the key decisions of the WSIS related to ICT infrastructure financing and internet governance were important and necessary, these developments were likely to have happened in the medium term anyway given technical and political shifts already happening. And perhaps these changes could have been achieved with much less cost of time, energy and painful debates through other mechanisms.
The official APC announcement follows…
APC launches new book on WSIS, developing countries and civil society: Time for lessons learned
MONTEVIDEO, Uruguay — The World Summit on the Information Society
(WSIS) has been roundly criticised in the past and this new study from
APC concludes that the summit “is not the best starting point for new
action.” So, what is the point of looking at how developing country
delegations and civil society fared at the summit? Because, says the
author “it is always important to learn from experience – particularly
where it did not deliver up to expectations.”
book “Whose Summit? Whose Information Society? Developing countries and
civil society at the World Summit on the Information Society”,
commissioned by APC and written by David Souter draws on participants’
observations, detailed interviews with forty key actors and case
studies of experiences rooted in five developing countries.
holds many lessons for developing countries and civil society
organisations aiming to exert greater influence in international ICT
decision-making fora. Some lessons demonstrate what worked well – such
as the highly successful, multi-stakeholder Internet Governance Forum
(IGF). The majority illustrate what did not work so well – not least,
holding a four-year long meeting on such a fast-changing topic.
- Read a one-page introduction.
- Interview with “Whose Summit? Whose Information Society?” author David Souter
to discuss the study’s findings, as well as what lessons can be
gathered from the WSIS experience – for developing countries, civil
society, and in general by APCNews.
- Download the full book here [in English; pdf format].
- Download the abridged versions (part of APC’s Issue Papers series) in English, Spanish and French:
Five case studies of experience in five developing countries were commissioned for the main report: